As I am about to graduate and sadly leave UNH, I have been thinking a lot about my time here over the past four years. I have made friends I know I will have for a lifetime, learned so much both academically and about life, and been able to really grow as a person. Of course there are a few things I wish I had known before entering UNH that I was stressed about, but I am glad I can share what I’ve learned with you.
I learned that staying well is an important part of making sure you make the most out of your time here at UNH. It goes by faster than you think, trust me.
Social Wellness at UNH
Maintaining Social Wellness – University of New Hampshire is an important part of college, especially freshman year. I decided to have random roommates my freshman year which put me in a triple in Stoke Hall. While I had heard the horror stories of Stoke Hall I loved living there. I was able to meet so many people, many of my friends today lived in Stoke freshman year as well. Don’t be afraid to ask your neighbors to get something to eat or if they want to join you at the party you are going to (plus it’s good to use the buddy system at parties). It is important to meet new people freshman year because everyone is in the same situation of being new to UNH – you aren’t alone.
Don’t feel pressured to go out every night even if that’s what your roommates or people in your classes are doing. Balancing personal time and social time is an important part of social well-being. Remember, to always keep an open mind when meeting new people and have fun.
Intellectual Wellness at UNH
Balancing friends and school is a difficult thing to do, especially when you are living away from home and don’t have your parents there to guide you. I have always been a more independent person and felt that handling school and friends while away at college would be simple. Well I was wrong, it can be difficult. Intellectual wellness is more than just being smart, it’s being smart with your time.
Time management is a skill I quickly learned freshman year and am still working on as I graduate it. It is a skill that will take you far in life, every job application I see asks “Can you manage your time effectively.” Being able to have friends, maybe a job, and keep a good academic standing is difficult. That is why making sure your academics come first is important. If you know there is a ‘can’t miss party’ this Saturday and you have a paper due Monday make sure you plan ahead. For me making to-do lists help me manage my time better, maybe it’s the satisfaction of checking off things when I am done but also it keeps me organized. I also plan ahead and will write down assignments I know I have a week or two to do, just so I know they are coming up.
Physical Wellness at UNH
Staying physically well can be difficult in college. When I first got to UNH I was so afraid of the ‘Freshman 15’ and that I would eat bad at the dining halls…constantly. Don’t worry, the ‘Freshman 15’ is a myth. I learned to eat well at the dining halls and to work out when I had the free time. But did not stress if I could not make it to the gym.
Campus Recreation has great fitness classes which I attend with friends a few times a week. The classes are fun and being able to hang out with friends while working out is always a good time.
I also walk everywhere. Try not to take the bus if you have the time to walk to class instead. In the fall and spring, it’s great to get outdoors and venture into College Woods. Staying physically well is something that you should enjoy and should not cause extra stress. Just get your body moving!
Another important part of physical wellness is sleep. Don’t go out every night of the weekend and sleep all day Sunday, you will regret it. Make sure to get those 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, they make a difference! Freshman year I would stay up late studying and wake up early in the morning, not smart at all. Don’t pull all-nighters, plan ahead and study the night before an exam. While it may be more fun to go to a party with friends you will not be happy when you are up till 4 am cramming for your Psych 401 exam, believe me I’ve been there.
You do not need alcohol to have a good time. Something that I think students forget is that going out every night may sound fun, but if you choose to stay home you will not lose your friends. If they decide to go out and you want to stay in that is okay. Making your own decisions that you are comfortable with is important. Never feel as though you are pressured into doing anything whether it be drinking or doing drugs. If your friends care about you and respect you then they will support your decisions.
Being safe is a very important part of staying well. If you decide to go out and drink alcohol make sure you are being responsible. Never go out without friends. Do not drink too much, know your limits when it comes to alcohol. Watch out for your friends because sometimes our friends do not know their limits. If you or a friend are in danger when you are drunk go find help do not handle it on your own, especially if all of you have been drinking. I know that eating a full dinner and bringing out a water with you is something I always do when I go out. I also always have a snack with me while drinking, it makes me not feel the effects of alcohol as quickly so that I can enjoy spending time with my friends when we go out.
The most important piece of advice that I feel all incoming freshman need is, enjoy it. They call it the “best time of your life” for a reason. I am so sad to leave UNH and wish I could stay. Yet I know that in my four years here I have learned so much about myself and about others. I have gained skills in the classroom and outside the classroom that have made me who I am today. Staying well in all aspects of your life is so important. Make sure that you build these habits sooner rather than later so you can graduate not only with a degree but with great memories from UNH.